A wishlist featuring surfboards and boogieboards is set to become a reality for SurfChurch Stoked members with plans to expand the free children's program.
The new purchases are being made possible after the prorgam received $34,200 from the Gambling Community Benefit Fund.
Resident Minister SurfChurch Bargara Jennifer Lynn said the funding would enable Stoked to purchase its own equipment to further develop the children's program.
“Stoked will purchase surfboards, boogieboards, nipper style boards for the very young or disabled, a trailer to cart the boards, gazebo, loud speaker, rash vests and more,” she said.
Stoked is a free children's program which started in January 2019 and is combined with the beach service called SurfChurch.
“The aim of SurfChurch is to provide a casual user-friendly church service on the beach, which all are welcome to attend,” Jennifer said.
“Stoked aims to provide social skills, environmental awareness, problem solving, community focus, utilising outdoor activities and free surfing lessons.
“It has a large focus upon the ocean and natural environment, based upon core Christian values such as kindness, respect, trust, friendship and community spirit.”
Jennifer said Stoked had become hugely popular within the community because it offered children a fun, safe, surfing based environment completely free of charge.
“Stoked has a number of local surfers who volunteer their time every school holidays to assist with the surf coaching,” she said.
“The Beach Mill Cafe promotes Stoked, the local police visit Stoked each holidays to chat with the children and Guzman Y Gomez gifted every child and leader with free burritos at the last event.
“People from the Uniting Church and within the greater community volunteer time to teach crafts and engage activities with the children, so I guess the community witnesses a fantastic expression of real community spirit from all involved in the program.”
Stoked is on again in the June/July holidays and while surfing will be off the agenda due to the cold weather, Jennifer said there would be plenty more on offer for participants.
“One Winter we had SeaLife visit, and this time we have the Taribelang Bunda People to engage story telling with the children, Sea Turtle Alliance, Elijah's World and Mon Repos rangers attending.
“Other future plans include offering Stoked programs to children in remote or indigenous communities and bringing them to the coast for a few days of fun in the water on the coast.
“We also hope to have famous surfers come along and share life and surfing tips with the children.”
Stoked funding a boost for program
Until now, Jennifer said Stoked had no income stream and relied fully upon donations.
She said she was over the moon to have received funding which would help establish Stoked into the future.
“Personally, I can say that Stoked is a fantastic, free, community based program through which children learn new skills, make new friends, and are challenged to live their life well and to the fullest,” Jennifer said.
“As a minister, Stoked is one of the best ministries I have been part of as I find it offers a realistic and agenda-less way to empower and inspire the next generations to live out community and live a good life.”
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